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The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener

3.4 22
by George Pelecanos

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Gus Ramone is "good police," a former Internal Affairs investigator now working homicide for the city's Violent Crime branch. His new case involves the death of a local teenager named Asa whose body has been found in a local community garden.The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop twenty years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan


Gus Ramone is "good police," a former Internal Affairs investigator now working homicide for the city's Violent Crime branch. His new case involves the death of a local teenager named Asa whose body has been found in a local community garden.The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop twenty years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan "Doc" Holiday, assisted a legendary detective named T. C. Cook. The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges, and now finds work as a bodyguard and driver. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the "Night Gardener" killings.The new case draws the three men together on a grim mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. All the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them comes rushing back, and old ghosts walk once more as the men try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams. Bigger and even more unstoppable than his previous thrillers, George Pelecanos achieves in THE NIGHT GARDENER what his brilliant career has been building toward: a novel that is a perfect union of suspense, character, and unstoppable fate.

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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2 MB

Meet the Author

George Pelecanos is the author of several highly praised and bestselling novels, including The Cut, What It Was, The Way Home, The Turnaround, and The Night Gardener. He is also an independent-film producer, an essayist, and the recipient of numerous international writing awards. He was a producer and Emmy-nominated writer for The Wire and currently writes for the acclaimed HBO series Treme. He lives in Maryland.

Brief Biography

Silver Spring, Maryland
Date of Birth:
February 18, 1957
Place of Birth:
Washington, D.C.
B.A., University of Maryland at College Park, 1980

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The Night Gardener 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author George Pelacanos is the master of hard-boiled crime drama. His books continually embody the spirit and grit of their Washington, DC setting. His characters - police, villians and victims alike - are believeable and real and vividly come to life as if they are literally standing before the reader. Additionally, nobody captures the essence of urban street prose better than Pelacanos, as evidenced by this simple but telling passage: 'Shaka bounced the Spalding indoor/outdoor over to Diego, who took a medium-range jumper that hit the back of the iron and did not drop.' Reading this passage, I felt as if I was on the court watching these two teenagers ball. Pelacanos fans should know that this book is a stand alone novel and not a Derek Strange caper. That said, the author does allow his endurring character to make a small 'appearance' in the story. Lastly, I am not one to usually comment on the reviews of others, however, I must call out the scribe of the earlier review who commented on this novels gratuitous vulgar language...don't know which book that person was reading because 'The Night Gardner' contains very few vulgarities. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it left me eagerly awaiting a follow up. Again, George Pelacanos proves his has mastered this genre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I read B&N's review of this book, I ordered it immediately. When I read the book, I was extremely disappointed. The dialogue is excellent, but the plot is just okay. The end was unsatisfying, and very easy to figure out. If you're not a big whodunit reader, you'll love it. I have been reading detective novels all my life, so I expected more.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
In reading "The Night Gardener" I thought it would be a murder mystery or thriller, but instead it is about the human condition. To begin, a murdered child is found in a garden twenty years ago and three cops are there. Jump to now, and a similar murder has taken place, which opens wounds for the three. Their lives are changed, yet they are still haunted. We come to learn about who these men are, what made them and how they get through their own lives. George Pelecanos has written an intense story of what is like to live and survive in and on the streets of Washington D.C.
gl More than 1 year ago
Synopsis: The book opens with glimpse at a crime scene in a community garden in Washington D.C. in 1985 where Pelecanos introduces three key detectives. T.C. Cook, a sergeant with 24 years on the force, known as "The Mission Man" with a 90% closure rate. Dan Holiday, known as Doc, is tall, thin, and is results oriented but with little respect for the rules. Gus Ramone, like Doc Holiday is on his second year at Metro DC police force, but he prefers to follow the playbook, stay safe, put in his time and move on. Holiday and Ramone are handling crowd control. T.C. Cook is examining the crime scene surrounding Eve Drake, a young black teenager and the third and latest victim of the "Night Gardener". There is considerable pressure to solve and catch the culprit of the "Palindrome Murders". Pelecanos then takes the readers to Washington D.C. in 2005. Doc Holiday has been eased out of the police force and instead owns and manages a limo company while Ramone has remained on the force and risen up. As a senior detective, Ramone plays on his strengths to close cases and liberally relies on the skills of those around him. His life centers on his wife and their young daughter and their fourteen year old son who is undergoing some adjustment problems in his new Maryland school. With Holiday's accidental discovery of another teenage corpse in a community garden in the Southeast D.C. area twenty years later, Holiday and Ramone's paths intersect. Ramone's teenage son had been friends with Asa Johnson, the victim, and Ramone takes an interest in the case. The Palindrome Murders had suddenly ceased in 1985 but the Night Gardener had never been caught. Holiday suspects that the Night Gardener may have become active again and that Asa was his latest victim. Though he'd left the police force years ago, Holiday finds himself thinking about Asa Johnson and the Palindrome Murders and doesn't trust that Ramone and the detectives will solve the case. Holiday reaches out to retired T.C. Cook to see if together they can help the police locate the killer. Review: George Pelecanos has built a strong reputation for authentic dialogue and interesting characters through fifteen Washington D.C. based detective novels and his Emmy-nominated show The Wire. The Night Gardener is my first experience with his work and I can see how he's developed a strong and loyal fan base. The Night Gardener is carefully crafted and comes together smoothly. While the three main detectives and Asa Johnson's murder is the primary storyline, there are several other narratives and crimes that occur simultaneously. Even the subordinate plot lines and characters are well developed, which heightens the level of suspense. I couldn't tell until the ending how everything would fit together. But when I reached the end, then the details that were floating around in the periphery somehow made sense and I realized how The Night Gardener was so carefully crafted. I would recommend this book to people fond of forensic and police thrillers, and detective novels. I think it would have special appeal to those familiar with the Washington D.C. area.
Guest More than 1 year ago
BEWARE! George Pelecanos is inviting you to enter the streets of Washington D.C. Streets teaming with crime and conspiracy, bigotry and hate, get rich schemes and slow sure death. Follow Gus Rameno¿s investigation of a teen¿s death and its possible connection to a series of twenty-six year old murders, and as he unravels that mystery, we watch and listen as the streets throb like a living entity breathing, fighting, and dying. Every page of this book is thick with the gritty language and acts of those struggling to survive and come to the other side of life richer, wiser, and somewhere else. A thought provoking story, rich in the problems that face us today. Reviewed by Wanda C. Keesey, author of Lost In The Mist (release date May 2008)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Set in DC, this is a murder mystery that felt as if I was listening to a favorite CD. Pelecanos writes with a beat. This is one of my favorite writers and this is his best a perfect union of suspense, character, and unstoppable fate.
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arenaker More than 1 year ago
George Pelecanos writes novels that have real characters who live hard lives but persevere. See the HBO series THE WIRE for which he often writes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
blindeye More than 1 year ago
Pelecanos has always been a favorite writer of mine, but since I have trouble with failing eyesight, I have had to listen to his books -- he reads his own stuff and that just doesn't do it -- no infliction in his voice, just a very monotoned voice. The listener becomes so caught up in this one toned voice, you forget what it is being read. That said, the story is very good. If you are into cop stories there isn't anybody like Pelecanos!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been reading crime novels for nearly thirty years and I've written three of them, but after reading 'The Night Gardener,' I'll never have to read another crime novel. Pelecanos has blasted apart the entire genre with this masterpiece, the first crime novel I've ever read that actually approaches true literature. You just can't have a supernatural scene in a 'realistic' crime novel (Cook goes to Heaven), yet Pelecanos pulls it off so well, you don't even notice he's violated rule #1 of the genre. He's blasted apart the whole structure of the genre, there's true character development (Holladay), and he's posed a great literary theme: Do things in this world (like the rain) mean something, or stand for something, or are things just what they seem to be on the surface? Wisely, Pelecanos doesn't answer the question, but what is brilliant is his courage and skill in asking such a profound question. This novel beats anything EVER written by the likes of Cornwell, Sandford, Parker, Patterson, Thomas Perry, even my other fave, Dennis Lehane. Why read another crime novel? George P. has said all the genre is capable of saying. I can't understand those who give this less than five stars, but I encourage them to read it again and expand the way they think about the crime novel. Meanwhile, I'm going back to reading 'literary' literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Voice performers are terrific - I have a list of favorites a mile long and eagerly await new releases from each of them. However, an author reading his own words can be a very special listening experience. For this listener he or she brings an intimacy, an understanding that even the best of trained actors cannot capture. Such is the case with George Pelecanos's narration of The Night Gardener. As a producer and writer for TV's acclaimed The Wire, Pelecanos well knows how to set a scene and craft intense dialogue. He does just that in spades in this story of three men who are once again drawn together in order to find a killer. While all murders are tragic, the snuffing out of a young life is particularly heart wrenching. A teenage boy, Asa, is found slain in a community garden. He had been a friend of homicide detective Gus Ramone's son, Diego. Not only does Gus want the murderer caught because he's a good cop but also because it reminds him of a 20 year old unsolved case - young boys found dead in parks. The killer who came to be known as The Night Gardener' was never found. At that time Gus had been just a rookie and worked with his partner, Dan Holiday. The intervening years haven't been kind to Dan as he left the force due to a morals charge and is now making ends meet by working as a driver and bodyguard. Dan and Gus had joined with one of the best detectives to be found - T. C. Cook in a hunt for The Night Gardener. Nonetheless, the three of them were unable to track the perpetrator of such heinous crimes. Now, with another slaying so similar to the two decade old killings each man is doggedly determined that the murderer won't get away again. Just as characters on The Wire leap at you from a screen, this trio seems to spring from the pages of Pelecanos's dynamite thriller. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good cop,bad cop deep,dark secrets standard obsessed retired cop is secretly vindicated in the end but only the reader knows...the novel holds no surprises. The language does not flow naturally the author loves short,simple sentences as if writing for simple minded readers. D.C.,though mentioned often,is never fleshed out.Comments about the current administration and its supposed views are made to appear as the cause for a young teen's suicide that the police could not distinguish from murder.DC's finest are portrayed as bigoted,alcoholic and on the take. Upper class schools are portrayed as racist.The cliches are almost insulting to the intelligence of the reader. The only sense of tension comes from the need to finally finish the book. The title is the most intriguing part of the book. One star for effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some authors have the rare gift of being able to put themselves into a situation and writing as if they'd 'been there, done that'. Not George Pelicanos -- at least not in 'The Night Gardener'. His dialog is stilted and his gratuitous overuse of foul language quickly becomes repugnant. Beyond that, his sentence structure is exceedingly basic and boring. Grammatical, yes, but no more. A good recent book to read instead of this one? -- James Burke's 'Pegasus Descending'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Washington DC Police Department Violent Crime Detective Gus Ramone has been a good cop for over two decades, but the latest case assigned to him hits home personally on two fronts. First the victim Asa Johnson is a friend of Gus¿ teenage son second the crime scene data and related information reminds him of a serial killer never caught when Gus was in his second year on the force.-------- Adding to his feel of déjà vu is who found the corpse. Back in 1985, Gus was watching renowned Detective T.C. Cook with an over 90 per cent resolution rate work the now cold case with another second year cop Dan Holiday watching like Gus in awe. Dan, who left WPD under a cloud of alleged misconduct, found the current corpse. He and Cook see this latest homicide as a chance for redemption and inveigle their way into Gus' investigation while the lead detective feels the passion flow that he has lacked in years.-------- The three cops make George Pelecanos¿ latest tale a must read police procedural as the author takes the theme of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly into 2005 DC. The action-packed story line is driven by the differing self actualization needs of the threesome, which is deftly interwoven into the investigative plot. THE NIGHT GARDENER will be on everyone¿s short list for sub-genre book of the year as the True Grit sleuths seek solace with stopping a serial killer returned from their failed past.----- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this one on the reccomendation of several people, and to be honest, if I could post say, 3 1/2 stars? That would be my review, because I would reccomend it. Just not to everyone. The plot reminded me sharply of Lehane's 'Mystic River,' in that you can tell pretty much nobody is going to come out on top. That's fine. That's the way real life operates a good deal of the time. Added to that though, there are parallel plotlines that never seem to go anywhere. A lot of people have stated that they didn't find the ending satisfactory, and I would ask them what they mean. Barring an lack of substance in the end, it was undoubtedly the author's intention to leave a frayed rope. Reading that last little bit might make your teeth grind together and your mouth secrete some bitter flavor, not unlike gall. Here's to your enjoyment, or your disappointment, but to fans of 'Mystic River,' you might want to give this one a try.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A cheap book with little substance and too many undelivered promises. Lacking is the mystery. Lacking here is the dark, magical side to murder mysteries. Easy to tell JP bookseller is James Patterson